Perhaps demonstrating signs of a steady turnaround, Rennes named most of their big-hitters in the first XI against Vitesse in Thursday’s Conference League clash, and the move paid off as Serhou Guirassy and Kamaldeen Sulemana struck in a 2-1 win despite Loic Bade’s sending off.
Les Rouge et Noir had previously gone four games without a win in all competitions before a 6-0 thrashing of Clermont on September 22, although they were held to a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in their most recent Ligue 1 game, as Mexer scored an 88th-minute equaliser following Gaetan Laborde’s opener.
However, four points from their last two fixtures is certainly an improvement for Rennes compared to their three-game losing run to Angers, Reims and Marseille, but that early dip in form has seen them drop to 13th in the rankings after eight matches.
Nine goals conceded is the joint-fewest outside the top six, though, and Rennes can certainly take confidence from their home form since Genesio took the reins from Julien Stephan, winning six and losing just one of their last nine Ligue 1 encounters at Roazhon Park.
The hosts have also conceded just five goals in that hot streak and will hope to see their European success translate into better fortunes on the domestic stage, but PSG and their new hero are travelling to Brittany intent on spoiling the party.
The Parc des Princes faithful have had to be patient for Lionel Messi’s first goal in navy blue, but it was a strike worth waiting for, as the six-time Ballon d’Or winner scored the clincher in front of former manager Pep Guardiola during a joyous Tuesday evening.
After Idrissa Gueye – a man thoroughly enjoying his football at the minute – had crashed home the opener and Bernardo Silva inexplicably missed from a yard out, Messi combined well with Kylian Mbappe to rifle an effort past a hapless Ederson, with the strike unsurprisingly named the Champions League goal of the week.
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PSG gleaned revenge for last year’s semi-final exit after maintaining their perfect record in Ligue 1 with a straightforward 2-0 win over Montpellier HSC – a result which saw them move onto 24 points from a possible 24 as they extended their lead at the summit to nine points.
Mauricio Pochettino’s pursuits of silverware in North London ended in failure year after year, but the PSG coach has his eyes firmly on the domestic and continental prize this term, and the visitors travel to Rennes unbeaten in 12 Ligue 1 away matches since defeat to Lorient in January